Press Release

Tate, Centre Pompidou and Israel Museum jointly acquire Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Press release: Tate, Centre Pompidou and Israel Museum jointly acquire Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Tate announced today that it has jointly acquired Christian Marclay’s celebrated video work, The Clock 2010 together with the Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 

This internationally acclaimed video piece has captivated audiences across the world from New York to Moscow since it was premiered in London in 2010. Christian Marclay, who is widely considered among the foremost artists working in sound and image, received the prestigious Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 2011 when this work was shown. The work is an important addition to the Tate Collection and joins Marclay’s installation Video Quartet 2002 which is a key work in Tate’s holdings of time-based media. The work was acquired through the generosity of the American Fund for the Tate Gallery. 

The Clock is a 24-hour montage, constructed of excerpts from cinematic history. Following several years of rigorous research and production, Marclay excerpted thousands of these fragments from films and edited them so that they flow in real time. The video functions as a working timepiece in itself, synchronised to the local time zone at each exhibition venue. By precisely referencing actual time wherever it is on display, The Clock transforms the usual sensation of artificial ‘cinematic time’ into the thrilling sensation of real time in the exhibition gallery. The audience watching The Clock experiences a vast range of narratives, settings and moods within the space of a few minutes, making time unravel in countless directions at once. 

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: ‘The joint acquisition of The Clock is a further example of Tate’s commitment to important media installations. We are delighted to yet again work in partnership with other major institutions, in this case Centre Pompidou and the Israel Museum, sharing the work with audiences across the world while also allowing the organisations to share expertise and raise the visibility of artists working in film and video.’

James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum, said: ‘We are pleased that this partnership with our colleagues at the Centre Pompidou and Tate enables all of us to share and enjoy with each of our audiences Marclay’s exceptionally masterful creation. This joint purchase will expand The Clock’s exposure to the widest possible international audience at the same time that it becomes an important addition to our ever-expanding holdings in contemporary art in Jerusalem.’ 

Alain Seban, President, Centre Pompidou said: ‘We are very pleased to be able to acquire this masterpiece in partnership between the three museums, especially thanks to the generosity of our major donors who responded to our request with such enthusiasm.’

Presentations at the three museums will be coordinated so that the work is only ever on view at one venue at any one time. Details of when the work will go on display at Tate Modern will be announced at a later date. 

Editor notes

Born in San Raphael, California, based in London and New York, Christian Marclay (1955- ) first came to prominence in the underground music scenes of late 1970s Boston and New York, where he developed a unique mode of music and performance using altered vinyl, repurposed musical instruments and cut up techniques. Renowned as a seminal figure in the development of DJ culture and ‘turntablism,’ Marclay subsequently has developed a major international career spanning aural and visual collage and performance, sculptural objects, video and photography. His fascination with all aspects of popular recorded sound and cinema has led to sophisticated sampling and appropriation techniques in which obsolete cultural forms are given renewed life through new media. 

The Clock 2010 acquired jointly by Tate, Centre Pompidou and the Israel Museum is number one in an edition of six. Other major media installation works in the Tate Collection which have been acquired jointly with other institutions include Bill Viola’s Five Angels of the Millennium 2001 (Tate, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Centre Pompidou, Paris) and Bruce Nauman’s MAPPING THE STUDIO II with color shift, flip, flop, & flip/flop (Fat Chance John Cage) 2001 (Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Kunstmuseum Basel).